The timing couldn’t be better.
Just in time for “March Madness,” the National Building Museum will open an exhibition called “HOOPS.”
It will display 50-60 photographs by North Carolina-based Bill Bamberger, each of them depicting empty basketball courts from around the world – including the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, South Africa, Namibia and Rwanda.
In a way, they’re landscapes – of public spaces or people’s yards, front and back.
“They’re portraits of place – and they make you think: ‘So who’s playing here?’” says curator Chrysanthe Broikos. “Your brain is injecting yourself onto that canvas.”
And basketball has universal appeal. It’s a subject matter that almost anyone can relate to, unlike soccer, baseball or football where a number of people are required to make a game.
“With basketball, it can just be you, a ball and a court – it’s a low-entry sport,” she says. “It’s not expensive and those public courts are in many places.”
But wait a minute: Empty basketball courts for a building museum exhibition? What’s up with that?
“The sports field makes people understand that everything is design, with decisions about how spaces are made,” she says. “It’s a way for the Building Museum to communicate that to the public – that it’s not just about buildings and what’s inside, but about the spaces in between.”
Besides, Bamberger’s photographs are gorgeous art, in and of themselves. “There’s a diversity of places,” she says. “It’s a colorful, different and accessible subject matter.”
And as noted, it’s timely too. The show opens on March 9 – three days before the ACC Tournament kicks off, and 10 days before the NCAA Tournament launches coast-to-coast.
And if you’re too busy watching the games, relax. It doesn’t close until January 5, 2020.
All photos by Bill Bamberger